The Shoat Statements

Random musings by the multiple voices inside my head.

There is something about having over 1.3 million people cheer you on that is quite indescribable. That's how I felt when I took part in the Pride Parade 2010 in Toronto earlier this month.


Let's rewind. I had signed up as a volunteer for the Global Human Rights booth, and hadn't actually planned on taking part in the grand parade. There was a day of training which went off quite well, and in the week leading up to Pride, we were loaded with reading material, to prepare us for our chosen volunteer sections.

Pride in Toronto was everything that you've seen or read about, and then some! There was such a sense of freedom, openness and unity that is very difficult to describe, and I was so proud to be a part of it.

The best part of it, for me, was something that happened when I was volunteering at the booth. While I was gathering signatures for a petition, this elderly gentleman walked up to me. He started by shaking my hand, and saying that when he was my age, he would have been jailed just for being himself. He didn't look so old, and my confusion must have been apparent on my face, because he went on to tell me that he was born in 1937, and what it was like growing up in those times, knowing that you were gay and the fear that was part and parcel of that knowledge. I could see the tears in his eyes as he spoke; he wasn't just crying about what they as a community had to endure, but also over how much had been achieved in 30 years. And then he thanked me for being part of the youth (and here he ended up using that term quite liberally) that still worked towards bringing these freedoms and rights to other parts of the world, and at that point, I felt my own eyes tear up. It was such a touching, happy and sad moment all at the same time.

Then, while I was at the booth, part of the organising committee came and asked me if I would like to march at the parade with the Global Human Rights for Queers contingent, and I was like hell yeah! Completely unexpected, totally up my alley.

So at 1.30 in the afternoon, with the sun blazing down upon us, I found myself standing in line, holding a placard in one hand, the main banner in the other (yup, not only did I get to march, I got to march right in front, helping to hold the banner) while the temperature hovered somewhere between 29 to 30 degrees.

The parade got under way in about 45 minutes, and for the next 2 hours (and 2 km or more), I didn't notice the heat, the distance or the time. There were approximately 1.3 million people watching us, cheering, clapping, appreciating (and dousing us with water!)...I felt like I was part of something so much bigger than just me...that I was doing something meaningful, and that people this the kind of thing that I as meant to do.

It was just an incredible, indescribable, awesome feeling.

5 comments:

wow. very very cool.

the part about the old guy reminded me of "if these walls could talk 2". it deals with homosexuality during 3 eras.

My roomie ended up telling me the exact same thing!

I must watch this movie,clearly.

nice...
touching what the old chap had to say...

btw, luckily you were not wearing a white t'shirt

I don't get it - what's the deal with wearing a white t-shirt?

think hard... white t'shirt + water

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